Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXI

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Bill_N ]

Subject: NY Times Op-Ed on Addicition & the DSM
From: "william N."
Date: Wed, June 6, 2012 5:34 am     (answered 7 June 2012)

Hi Orange,

I thought you might be interested in this op-ed article written by Dr. Howard Markel, a physician and professor.


He doesn't really talk much about "alcoholism," but maybe that is not an oversight.

Hello again, Bill,

Thanks for the link.


Skeptics worry that such broad criteria for addiction will pathologize normal (if bad) behavior and lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Of course it will. Not to mention overcharging health insurance. Follow the money. This new version of the DSM will allow unscrupulous doctors to charge health insurance for many more things. And notice how the committee that is rewriting the definition of addiction has left it open-ended, so that even more things can be added in the future. What a racket.

I'm really surprised at the health insurance companies. They are good at denying little girls operations and letting them die. But they fail to save money by opposing 12-Step treatment or this new definition of addiction that will have them paying plenty for odd-ball compulsive ailments. Where are the obnoxious lobbyists when you need one?

Notice the hidden assumption that "addiction" can be medically "treated". Nobody challenged that assumption. But I seriously doubt that all of those new vague "addictions" can be treated, and that the health plans should be forced to pay for such treatment.

Of course I remember how my "treatment program" for alcoholism consisted of a cocaine-snorting child-raper yammering 12-Step dogma and slogans at us, and telling us to go to at least three 12-Step meetings per week, and then sticking a bunch of acupuncture needles in us. And the Oregon Health Plan actually paid $1700 per person for that "treatment", until the OHP went broke, and now the really sick people cannot even get their medications.

This new definition of "addiction" promises to make the situation worse. Can you imagine them yammering 12-Step slogans at gamblers and sex addicts, and then sticking acupuncture needles into them, and calling that "treatment"? I can.

There is quackery everywhere, and this new definition of addiction will feed more of it.

Some of the arguments in that article are sheer bullshit:

"We now know that for some users marijuana can be terribly addictive, but because clearance of the drug from the body's fat cells takes weeks (instead of hours or days), physical withdrawal rarely occurs, though psychological withdrawal certainly can.

That is simply not true. I smoked pot for many years, even living on a hippie commune and smoking it every day, and never got addicted, and never went through withdrawal. I never even officially quit it, I just tapered off to nothing because I got tired of being foggy-headed and wanted to do other things. Pot is actually one of the least addictive drugs on Earth. Just because some alkaloids linger in the fat for a few days does not mean that someone is addicted and crawling the walls for a fix. Geez, what bad logic.

Then, the impressive-but-irrelevant talk about cocaine and dopamine and PET scans has nothing to do with rewriting the definition of addiction. That is the propaganda trick called Confuse With Technicalese. Many readers will be fooled into thinking that those guys must really know what they are talking about as they change the definition of addiction. But the guys studying cocaine in the brain with PET scans are not the committee that is changing the DSM book. It's different people, and different subjects.

The author's conclusion is illogical, a real non-sequitur, which is another propaganda trick:

We should embrace the new D.S.M. criteria and attack all the substances and behaviors that inspire addiction with effective therapies and support.

Oh? Now we should "attack behaviors that inspire addiction", should we? What the heck is that? Does that include attacking teenagers who are kissing, which might "inspire" sex addiction?

What quackery.

As you said, the author did not mention alcohol. The thing about alcohol is that it is really addicting. Badly-addicted alcoholics who go through cold-turkey withdrawal can die. A man who worked in a detox center said, "Heck, we put the heroin addicts and cocaine addicts through cold-turkey withdrawal and get them off of the stuff fast. But you can't do that with alcoholics. They will go into DTs. They will go into shock and their hearts will stop. They will die on you. We have to actually give them alcohol in the hospital and wean them off of it slowly. Sometimes it takes months."

But here, the author is trying to gloss over those differences and lump all compulsive behaviors together as "addiction". That is grossly inaccurate. Just because somebody really, really, really wants another hit of cocaine does not mean that he is addicted in the same way as someone who will die unless he gets a drink of alcohol.

Incidentally, on another topic, here in New Jersey governor Chris Christie has fallen in love with the idea that treatment facilities (like halfway houses) are to be supported, so any halfway houses which were once in danger of closing, now have new life. And since the 12-steppers have infiltrated virtually all treatment facitlities, it looks like AA will be allowed to continue unabated. What a shame.


Well somebody should tell the governor that 12-Step cult religion is not the same thing as real recovery. Somebody should tell him about the experiences that Oregon went through, and how the Steppers bankrupted the Oregon Health Plan with their quack treatment.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The so-called "recovery industry" has
**     more quacks than a flock of ducks.
**     Dishonesty is the raw material not of quacks only,
**     but also in great part of dupes.
**        ==  Thomas Carlyle Count Cagliostro, 1833.
**     He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself
**     despises, is a puffer; he who makes use of more means that he
**     knows to be necessary, is a quack; and he who ascribes to those
**     means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants, is an imposter.
**         ==  John Caspar Lavater (1741—1801), Swiss theologian

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Jane_H ]

Date: Wed, June 6, 2012 4:22 pm     (answered 9 June 2012)
From: "Jane H."
Subject: Who are you?

And I want to speak with you. I've been trying to find an open-minded "doctor" who will work with me to help come to a physiological solution.

I'm a highly-successful person with a great understanding of mental illness, physiology and will.

The more I've researched, the less hopeful I've become. I'm articulate, beautiful, successful and most important in this situation (when we need to speak) client-facing.

Anyone I try to speak to about this says I should go to AA (which I have). All of who (minimally) are hopped up on sugar, caffeine and nicotine. Did I mention I'm extremely healthy? Minus the obvious.

Thank you for doing all the in-depth research that I can now refer to.

Most sincerely,

Jane H.


I hope this doesn't close your mind to contacting me, but I believe it's a glucose conversion issue.

I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Thank you.


Hello Jane,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliments. Unfortunately, I am not a doctor, and I'm definitely not qualified to diagnose and treat a glucose conversion disorder.

I am, however, qualified to venture an opinion on Alcoholics Anonymous, but I don't need to because you have already seen for yourself what it is.

I would telephone you but I don't have a telephone. That's just one of the things that I found I can live without, and happily too, and save money in the process.

Obviously, you need to find a better doctor. Please just keep trying. Try another and another until you find a good one. Doctors whose answer is to send people to Alcoholics Anonymous are little more than quacks, and they don't know what they are doing, and they are not doing their job. Sending people to A.A. is just trying to shove the problem off on somebody else.

Now how to find a good doctor? One thing that occurs to me is to ask around at SMART meetings, or SOS, or Lifering, or WFS. Those organizations are full of people who have had various problems, and got shoved into A.A. or N.A., only to discover that Steppism is nonsense and insanity. I know that many of those people have gone through the same search as you, and I've heard a few stories of people eventually finding a good doctor who really helped them. So you can ask them how they did it.

Here is the list of non-cult organizations and methods.

Most of them have online forums and chat groups, so you can ask online and do not necessarily have to find a face-to-face meeting in your city.

Also, you might find something useful in other people's stories of overcoming addictive problems: How did you get to where you are? The "long list" contains links to many letters from other people who found something that worked for them.

Good luck now, and please do not hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

Oh by the way, who I am is a complex question, so I'll just give you the short answer like that I'm an old hippie and ex-computer programmer who lives in rural Oregon, and my birth name is Terrance Hodgins.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have
**     is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
**          ==  Rabbi Harold Kushner

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Wed, June 6, 2012 7:57 pm     (answered 9 June 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Orange Papers as ebook

Here is the Pandigital website: http://www.pandigital.net/

Hi again, Meatbag,

Yes. Thank you. I don't see any mention of the next model, but then again, they wouldn't mention it if they were working on getting rid of their current inventory before they introduce the next model.

Yeah, I wouldn't be shocked if it was a new model. The Kindle Keyboard is less than two years old, and Amazon is phasing it out. My Sony PRS-350 that I got in early 2011 was discontinued later that year. And now, I'm hearing rumors that Amazon is planning a frontlit version of the Kindle Touch.

Yes, things really move fast in that world.

Even if you do need to charge a tablet, it'll likely just have a light USB cord, and you can buy an AC adapter for <$10. That's definitely better than a heavy brick. And I can somewhat relate to your laptop-hauling woes, considering most of the weight of my backpack tends to come from my laptop. I'm young enough to deal with it, though. Then again, I'll probably regret it when I'm older.

Actually, my aches are not from what I did when I was young. Rather, various parts seem to have decided to wear out on their own, regardless of previous usage.

DRM causes all sorts of problems. Sometimes, the company just decides to shut down their service. Say goodbye to your music collection, and if you get a new device, say goodbye to your ebooks, too. Wikipedia has a long list of cases where that happened:

Yes, it is so maddening. "We are bankrupt or bought out, and you are stranded. Thanks for buying our junk."

I've seen it so many times in the previous 30 years. (Just try to get some support for your Osborne Executive. Okay, that's an extreme example, but you get the idea.) As a matter of fact, sooner or later, almost everything ends up being orphaned. There really ought to be a law about opening stuff up and releasing the source code and technical information when it becomes obsolete or orphaned, so that the user community can maintain it.

Now my Olympus E-510 digital camera (that set me back over $1100) that is only 4 years old is orphaned, and no way will Olympus consider releasing the source code for the firmware so we can fix their buggy and incompetent coding.

And in some cases, the DRM backfires and encourages piracy. Why would you buy movies with unskippable warnings when the free, pirated version doesn't have those? Why buy the game that could cause security vulnerabilities in the already-vulnerable Windows and severely limits how often you install the game, when the pirate version does no such thing (that's exactly what happened with Spore)? Judging by the shitstorm surrounding Diablo III's DRM (requires you to log in to play a single-player game), the moment that game gets cracked, it's going to get pirated a lot, too.

And why buy cripple-ware? If someone has released an uncrippled version on the Internet, it's a no-brainer which one you should choose.

And that's leaving off Amazon's infamous removal of 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindles a few years ago. Yeah, Amazon, try to take away my now DRM-free library. I dare you. And every single one of those books has been legally acquired, either purchased or downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Such censorship is way over the line. Again, that's why I don't like closed systems. They can do nasty things in there, and you are pretty helpless. After you "root" an Android-based system, you have some control over the system. Not so with iPad (or Kindle, I think).

Anyhow, upon rereading your Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment article, I noticed Dr. Duncan's story. It reminds me of some comments my mother (a nurse) made about how hospitals are run. Apparently, patients are customers now. The most important thing is not whether you're good at your job, but how much the patients like you. People have a tendency to favor the ones with an outgoing, friendly personality, even if they don't know a scalpel from a stethoscope. The reason those phony doctors got such rave reviews was probably because they had a warm demeanor. That's why love-bombing in cults is so effective.

Interesting. Just the opposite of "Dr. House", the most arrogant and unfriendly doctor in the hospital — but also the best. The problem is, patients aren't really qualified to judge doctors' skills, and I guess they will judge by criteria they understand, like friendliness and apparent concern for the patients' welfare. Which can all be just an act, of course. Smiling, grinning friendliness can also mask incompetence.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Programming today is a race between software engineers
**  striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs,
**  and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better
**  idiots.  So far, the Universe is winning.
**    ==  Rich Cook

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Tom_H ]

Date: Thu, June 7, 2012 3:43 pm     (answered 9 June 2012)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Quick Question

Hey Terry,

A quick question that I am sure many of your readers would be curious about. But first... Thank you for finally revealing that you were completely suicidal at age 18 when you left college. Thank you, also, for finally revealing that you were, in fact, kicked out of the Air Force on a mental discharge. I had asked you for that information many, many years ago, and was ignored. Why ?

Back to my original question ...... Please share about your siblings (anonymously) and their lives in general, and if they too, suffer from severe chronic depression as you do. It took me many years to come to grips with reality, and realize that my mental problems stemmed from a chemical imbalance and not totally from abusive parents that I blamed for most of my life. Like you, I took drugs a lot as a young kid too. I agree with so much of what you write about concerning AA, but I am finally getting my answers about your hostility, rage, and anger. I personally believe that someday, alcoholism will show itself to be a depressive based disorder and remedied with medications, so your honesty about your actual background would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.
Tom H.

Hello again, Tom,

Alas, you are grossly misinterpreting the facts. I was not "completely suicidal". If I had been, I would have committed suicide. I thought about suicide, and decided to try straightening out my head with LSD instead. It was a good choice, given the alternative.

I was not kicked out of the Air Force on a mental discharge. I got a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, for being "characteriologically unable to adapt to the military", which really meant that I objected to the War in Vietnam, and wanted out. I tried faking a suicide attempt, but the psychiatrist was not fooled at all. However, I lucked out there: The Commanding Officer was very sensitive on the subject of suicides because he had already had three guys commit suicide in his squadron in just the previous year, and he didn't want another one on his record. Guys were just dying to get out of the service because of the Vietnam War. So when he heard the word "suicide", he decided to kick me out. And he also misread what the psychiatrist wrote. The psychiatrist said that I had "pervasive passivism", but the CO read "pervasive pacifism", and the CO thought that was another good reason to kick me out. I didn't care what they put on the paperwork, just as long as I got free.

If refusing to go over to the other side of the world and kill skinny starving rice farmers for no good reason is insanity, then I plead guilty to insanity.

I do not suffer from "severe chronic depression", and neither do my siblings. I do not suffer from a "chemical imbalance". Sorry, but we are not at all alike there. My depression was temporary, and came from an abusive childhood. It took years to get over it, and you never entirely get over it, but things are getting better.

You see, there really are many different causes for depression. Like years of "working the 12 Steps" and wallowing in guilt and self-criticism is also good for causing depression. Bad drugs and malnutrition and tobacco can also cause depression. Bad environments and bad religion can cause depression. Bad relationships can cause depression.

I agree with your statement that "someday, alcoholism will show itself to be a depressive-based disorder" — at least, for a lot of people. And I think that many good psychiatrists already know that. Many people drink because they are depressed, or have a bipolar disorder, or a major depressive disorder. And unfortunately, alcohol itself also causes depression, which kind of confuses the issue. Some good doctors consider all cases of alcohol abuse or drug addiction to be dual-diagnosis disorders, because there must be some underlying reason why a person would deliberately kill himself with drugs and alcohol. Obviously, normal healthy people don't do that.

Have a good day now, and good luck with your depression.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I was feeling depressed, so I took an online test for depression.
**     The results were bad, simply awful.  Now I'm really depressed.

[The next letter from Tom_H is here.]

May 06, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Three of the Family of 6 Goslings

Canada Goose goslings
Three of the Family of 6 Goslings. The new baby is in the middle.

Canada Goose goslings
The Little One

Canada Goose goslings
The Little One

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Paul is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Paul ]

Date: Thu, June 7, 2012 6:11 pm     (answered 9 June 2012)
From: "paul"
Subject: in response

The author's bias toward (attachment to, addiction to) defining truth as fact.

1. His constant citation of facts. His emphasis on the importance of facts.

2. His citing Aristotle's Rhetoric so as to emphasize the value of facts; specifically his statement that Aristotle says it is better to stick to facts but that "often things affect the result considerably, owing to the defects of our hearers."

3. His claim that AA (and others) confuse correlation with causation.

To someone trained in philosophy, these statements manifest that the author is what would be called "a child of modernity"; i.e. a person who believes the bullshit of the enlightenment, i.e. that the use of reason alone can create a perfect world. There are still some, mostly those who have never studied history, who believe the enlightenment ideal; ignorant of the fact that for most practical people, this enlightenment ideal (i.e. that reason could create a perfect world) died in the trenches of the first world war.

This child of modernity wants to reduce all arguments to facts. He wants to define truth as facticity (a word I created). By facticity is meant the exact correspondence between and objective event/thing/person and the words used to describe that event. An example of facticity would be to say that you are reading this writing, or, that we are discussing an article written by A. Orange. Second, he wants us to assume that truth and fact mean the same thing. And finally, he wants us to believe that only on facts can a good life be led.

Let's take this apart.

1. His citation of Aristotle. Yes, Aristotle believes that the happiest person is the one who can live a life based on dialogue and rationally order one's life and decisions according to reason. This was the teaching of his teacher Socrates/Plato who taught that one could think-one's-way-into-right-action. Regardless of whether Socrates or Aristotle were correct in this assertion, Aristotle, unlike the idealists (Socrates and Plato) was more aware of the importance of keeping-one's-feet-on-the-ground; of being-down-to-earth. And thus he wrote that in the real political world where one needs to get things done, one must use a wide range of persuasive tools to match where the audience whom one wanted to motivate to act in certain ways, were at.

Some fifteen centuries after Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas will help initiate the renaissance and modern Roman Catholic Christianity (i.e. the ideas that there are natural rights, the one must follow one's conscience, that the goal of morality/ethics/doing-right is happiness, etc.) by re-inserting the teachings of Aristotle into the western dialogue after its seven hundred intellectual holiday called the dark ages. One of the many things Thomas writes in his monumental Summa Theologica is to point out that in the real world "that which is perceived/received is perceived/received in the manner the perceiver/receiver perceives/receives it." You, Paul, probably notice this as a benchmark rule of modern sales; i.e. in order to sell one must understand what the customer wants. It is largely irrelevant what the seller wants. In order to motivate, persuade, help, manipulate others, it is absolutely necessary that one understand how the one to be motivated, persuaded, helped, manipulated sees things. As the Talmud says, "one does not see things as they are; one sees things as he is". In short, Aristotle and Thomas, both of whom are classified as philosophical realists, understood that in the real world, one must not focus on the facts of the objective truth, one must focus on the perceptions and needs of the one being persuaded; persuaded to buy a car, persuaded to perform well in a job, persuaded to become sober. Because of this emphasis on realism and being practical Aristotle will largely say that in the real world, most people act-their-ways-into-right-thinking rather than think-their-ways-into-right-action. I.e. Aristotle is the root of A.A.s "fake it till you make it" and "avoid one's own best thinking".

2. The author wants to base things on facts. Facts are good. Facts are valuable in their proper place. There are facts in all areas but the area of the human condition in which facts have almost exclusive authority is in the realm of matter and motion; i.e. science. Science today is mathematicized (a word I made up); therefore facts have the most authority in the areas of math and science. But one must remember that scientific issues are child's play compared to human issues. How to motivate a people to go to war, how to find a spouse, why two people are fighting, how to resolve a conflict, how to grow spiritually, how to get over a bad habit.these things are much more complex than astrophysical, physical, chemical and for the most part, biological entities and realities and events.

In the metaphysical realism of Thomas and Aristotle (and many others who agree with them such as myself), truth is a transcendental quality/property/attribute of existence. What those words mean is that wherever existence/Being/isness is found, there too is truth. Truth is a quality of being, of existence. Truth is a quality. Truth is not a quantity. It cannot be counted, measured, weighed. Truth surrounds us all the time and in all ways. Truth cannot be proved. Truth can only be manifested (dialogically, through the use of disciplined speech). If truth is not a quantity, and cannot be measured, and cannot be proved, it necessarily follows that truth is not the same as a fact. Truth may contain elements of facts, but it cannot be reduced to facts. St. Augustine (between Thomas and Aristotle) understood this, when he said things such as "You think you are factually correct. I think I am factually correct. We are both wrong. Only God is true," and "credo ut intelligam" (I believe so that I can understand correctly.") or the words of St. Anslem "fides quarens intellectum" (theology (the highest science) is "faith seeking understanding".

When I speak of a child of modernity, modernity is the philosophical period which repudiates the claim of classical philosophy (i.e. that faith leads to correct understanding). Modernity (pronounced: moh-dare-nah-tee) holds that the best path to truth/the good life/happiness is through skepticism; the believe that doubting everything until proven factually correct is the best way to lead a life. This attitude is based primarily in the writings of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. It is only necessary to focus on Descartes. Descartes was the guy who coined the phrase "I think, therefore, I am" (In his meditations: cogito ergo sum and in his Discourse on Method: je pense donc je suis). Let us leave aside the important consideration of Descartes' ideas that he seeks to find truth and life through radical isolation and solitude; i.e. the "I" in "I think, therefore, I am." What is important, primarily is that just before he says his "I think.." He explores the need to doubt everything so as to create a life based on absolutely objective proof. This first, and most central thought to Descartes' philosophy is written as "Je doute, donc je suis" i.e. "I doubt, therefore, I am." And right here..right here.we see modernity's transition from a life based on faith/loyalty/community to a life based on cold fact/doubt/proof/isolation.

3. A.A. confuses correlation with causation. This phrase, confusing correlation with causation is taken idea for idea from the writings of David Hume, a thinker of late modernity and at the beginning of modernity's successor called contemporary philosophy. Hume realized that the ultimate result of embracing objectivity was the total loss of any connection with the world outside of ourselves. It might be there, but there is no way to know it is out there. All we actually know is what is inside here, inside our minds. What we know are the images of our own minds. Whether or not those images inside-here match up with whatever reality is out-there has to be proven through a rigid use of a Kantian (Immanual Kant, the follower of Hume) philosophy. Notice the word "prove". Remember, prove relates to facts and the assumption of an absolute objective/separate/isolated reality.

Another philosophy arising at the same time as Hume and Kant called phenomenology was a reaction to what these guys were about. Phenomenology says that truth and fact are not the same thing. Phenomenology says that subjective interaction with objects affects how those objects appear. (Phenomenology is the intellectual precursor of quantum and relativistic physics.) Phenomenology, most importantly says that truth, important human truth, cannot be proved; it can only be displayed, admitted and pointed out. The difference between Kantian philosophy and Phenomenology is this, a Kantian would say "Love, as in a mother's love, is equal to feeding, cleaning, etc. her child." A phenomenologist would say, one cannot prove that love exists by the acts one does; for example, the mother may be a co-dependent who measures her value on what she does for others. Rather, phenomenology would say the love a mother has for her child can be displayed, but not proven. Love, like truth, is not a quantity which can be measured.

But, if one is so foolish as to assume that the only valuable love is the love which can be quantified and measured, the ultimate result of that philosophy is the ceaselessly-frenetic-activity called workaholism; the value of the worker measured by objective criteria of how much he accomplishes. As Morpheus says in The Matrix, "history has a sense of irony". It is ironic that a short distance from the city in which Kant lived his life would later be a nazi prison camp which on the lintel of its gate had the words Arbeit macht frei — "Work will set you free." Contrast this with the phrase Aristotle adopted from the Delphic sybils which forms the basis of Aristotle's (and Thomas' and Catholicism's) moral philosophy; i.e. agan maydane "Do the middle" / virtus stat in media res "moderation in all things". Ultimately, contemporary thought, attempting to correct or react to modernity will assert that the best way to live is to divorce oneself from the messy world as it is, don't seek for happiness, live according to duty, become rigid and mechanistic, live by reason alone, become a machine, embrass ceaseless frenetic activity (i.e. workaholism), base one's life on an isolated analysis of fact.

Can individual communal human beings be reduced to isolated identical human doings? Can human machines be made sober? Absolutely; just use the right drug, the right genetic manipulation, a bullet. Would one want to be a sober machine? I wouldn't. Would one prefer to be a sober machine or a non-recovering alcoholic human person? That's a toss up. I think I would, all things being equal prefer to be the non-recovering alcoholic human person, but I can also admit there may be certain contexts in which I would choose the oblivion of the life of the human machine. Would one want to be a recovering alcoholic human person or a sober human doing? I would choose the former.

The author can take his objective world, and keep it. He will discover he is sitting in isolated solitude attempting to pleasure himself, intellectually or otherwise, but unsure if he is pleased or happy, or if it is even himself who is happy or pleased.

Hello again, Paul,

Thanks for the letter.

Wow. I don't recall ever seeing such an incredible essay that tried to use logic to reject facts and logic. I am reminded of this quote from Ethan Allen, the American Revolutionary War hero who was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys in their capture of Fort Ticonderoga:

Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle that they are laboring to dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

The belief that there is no such thing as rational truth is called Antirationalism. Antirationalism promotes the idea that there are no such things as valid, reliable facts or hard evidence, just various conflicting opinions.

You must see this video: Tim Minchin's Storm video. The girl "Storm" was the personification of antirationalism.

These lines pretty much sum up your complaint:

  • The author's bias toward (attachment to, addiction to) defining truth as fact.
  • This child of modernity wants to reduce all arguments to facts.

So you want to reject facts, and what? ...live in a fantasy world that is not based on facts or truth?

You describe "truth" this way:

Truth is a quality of being, of existence. Truth is a quality. Truth is not a quantity. It cannot be counted, measured, weighed. Truth surrounds us all the time and in all ways. Truth cannot be proved.

That is not truth in any rational sense. I know that you imagine that you are describing the "truth" of mystics, but the problem is that the "truth" that you describe is quite indistinguishable from the "truth" of the delusional lunatic in an asylum. He also sees a "truth" that cannot be proved, and it is not objective, and it is not based on facts, and no one else can see it.

This is a false dichotomy:

But one must remember that scientific issues are child's play compared to human issues.

There is no division of the world into "scientific issues" versus "human issues". For instance, is a nasty flesh-eating bacterium eating someone's body a "scientific issue" or a "human issue"? It's both. There is no separation of the world into "scientific" versus "human". In fact, science is just a way of answering questions and solving our problems. And if I ever have a nasty staphylococcus bacterium trying to eat me alive, I really hope I get a doctor who believes in facts and medical science.

By the way, what kind of doctor do you go to when you get sick? Do you reject all facts and science, and just rely on faith healing? If not, why not? To do anything else is inconsistent.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Learn the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
**       ==  Jesus Christ
**     There is no god higher than truth.
**       == Gandhi

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#William_B ]

Date: Fri, June 8, 2012 11:05 am     (answered 10 June 2012)
From: "WILLIAM B."
Subject: RE: Ordford and Edwards/Vaillant

Hi Orange

Your site explains so much, about 5 years ago the son of one of my AA friends killed himself. Obviously this is a tragedy. Everyone was very upset. He had met a woman at medical school and they married, he became a dentist and she was a GP. (community doctor) I`m not sure what the American equivalent is. Anyway they had four lovely children. But the relationship failed and he hung himself.

About a year ago the father (my AA friend) gave me a 15 minute lecture about how the only way to deal with small boys is to beat them as often as possible. I told him that my own son D. has never done anything to warrant that. (Even if he did I could not do it.)

When we went for lunch at the local kebab stand my friend repeated this story to the kebab man and they both had a good laugh. My AA friend summed up by saying. "He says his son has never done anything to deserve a good thrashing but he is only 8 years old".

I'm completely baffled my my friends inability to see that if you beat your children they grow up unable to trust, and limit their options for dealing with crisis. Also this pour man (the son) had been more or less forced to go to Alateen where he learned that he was the cause of his own problem. This left him nowhere to turn. So he killed himself. Am determined not to let that happen to my own son D.

I did my own survey. I went to 5 meetings AA, NA, CA, on Monday last week. I counted 157 people not including duplications. Using Vaillant's figures: In one year's time 3 or 4 of these people will be dead. The quote of Vaillant on your site does not reveal a distribution chart for the deaths. It just says that 29 out of the 100 people he could trace were dead after 8 years. We have to remember that the 6 people he could not trace may be dead as well.

129 x 29% = 37

Am I missing something because I find it hard to believe that these people who I know and love are going to die.

I have no difficulty with Vaillant, Emeric, or Ditman. All their findings fit in well with my own observations.

Once again thank you for your site.


Hello William,

Thank you for the letter. And you are right. Period. All the way down the line, on all points.

Telling people that they are the cause of horrible problems and that they cannot ever recover drives some people to suicide.

Beating children is a horrible thing to do. The idea that someone should beat children as often as possible is barbaric and sadistic, and insane. And it leaves the children permanently scarred.

The death rate in the "recovery community" really is that bad. Dr. Vaillant summed it up as simply "3% per year". Three out of each 100 die each year. He called that "appalling". (And I think he was actually rounding off the numbers downward. The real death rate is slightly over 3% per year.) And that was the death rate that he got in A.A. while he was trying to demonstrate that A.A. works.

I lived in the so-called "recovery community" for about six years. In that time, a guy in the room across the hall from me overdosed on heroin and died in the middle of the night. Then the next-door neighbor on the right-hand side of my apartment died of an overdose after he moved out of the building. The woman who was my left-hand next-door neighbor relapsed and went back out. So did the woman down at the end of the hall. The guy three doors down joined the National Guard and went to Iraq and got killed. In a terrible sort of irony, my clean and sober friend who lived five floors up and who was just surviving Hepatitis C was out riding his bicycle one evening when he got killed by a drunk driver who just did a hit-and-run on him and left him laying by the side of the road to die. And then there were just so many more people who relapsed and disappeared, and I don't know what happened to them. The "recovery community" really does resemble the Bataan Death March. The attrition rate is unreal.

The one that really hurt was the girl who was the hooker with a heart of gold. That is a Hollywood stereotype and a popular fantasy, but I met a real one. When she was only a couple of weeks away from death, she was worrying about me getting hurt by getting involved with the wrong woman (not her, somebody else) who would maybe cause me to slip and lose my sobriety. She was facing death, she kind of knew it was coming, she was losing the battle against her addictions and getting sicker, and she was worried about my welfare.

That's what really hurts. The nice people. The good people. If the alcoholics and addicts who are dying were all lowlife creeps, then it wouldn't matter so much. But very nice people are suffering and dying from addictions too. That is one of the things that pushes me to keep on doing this web site.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with
**     the object of making men happy in the end ... but that it was
**     essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny
**     creature ... and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears:
**     would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?
**     Tell me, and tell me the truth!
**       ==  Feodor Dostoevski (1821—1881)

[The next letter from William_B is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Steve_E ]

Date: Wed, June 6, 2012 3:26 pm     (answered Fri, June 8, 2012 12:02 pm)
From: "Steve E."
Subject: The Fix


Hey, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I've been in contact with the "recovery" website, The Fix, about your site. I think they'd like to do a Question and Answer article with you concerning your website and the fact you've become AA's number-one critic.

I hope I haven't overstepped in suggesting they should talk to you. If so, I'm sure they'll just let the entire thing drop. Once again, thank you for all your work and the powerful debate you've created.


Steve E.

Hello Steve,

Thanks for your efforts. No, you weren't overstepping at all. I can't do everything myself.

And it had not even occurred to me to contact The Fix, even though I'm on their mailing list and read their stuff often.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Jamie_G ]

On Facebook:
Jamie G.

Hi Orange..
Gotta a Random Thought For you to add to the papers... Ever Heard The Term "Functioning Alcoholic"? It gets Used all The time over here.. Anyhow If a Person By There Own Admission is a Functioning Alcoholic Then How Can they Declare They are Powerless Over Alcohol and There life is Unmanagable If by The same Token They Claim To be Able to Function.. I.e Hold a Job. Home Etc etc.. I thought The whole Idea of been a Alcoholic was When You lost most of these Things and Found it hard to function? Apart from been able to find your next supply of Drink ..Hope Alls well dude ..Jamie...

Orange Papers:
RE: "how If a Person By There Own Admission is a Functioning Alcoholic Then How Can they Declare They are Powerless Over Alcohol"? Good point. Yes, I hear that "functioning alcoholic" term over here too. Also, "practicing alcoholic". Sounds just like "practicing homosexual".
Oh well, have a good day anyway.

May 06, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 3. The tall one is the father.

Canada Goose gosling
Gosling Snoozing. I think this is one of the Family of 6 goslings.

A Nutria. Essentially a beaver with a rat tail.
The whole Willamette River watershed is populated with Nutria. Some enterprising soul imported them during World War II, to breed them for their pelts, to help the war effort. Well, it worked out quite well — too well, in fact, because some of them got loose and they decided that they liked the Oregon climate just fine and they reproduced like mad and now they are everywhere.

Canada Goose goslings
Gosling. I'm not sure if this is one of the Family of 6 or the Family of 3.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Nancy_M is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html#Nancy_M ]

Date: Fri, June 8, 2012 4:25 pm     (answered 10 June 2012)
From: "Nancy M."
Subject: Re: AA & Al anon and divorce rates?

Hi Orange,

I wrote to you last January about getting a divorce from my Al anon indoctrinated husband. We were married for over 30 years and he left us for his "new family." That's what Al anon folks are told on a DAILY basis — we are your "new family", not to mention, told everyday to detach, think of self first, you're powerless, be safe, look for "healthy" relationships, etc. They have caused a world of hurt and broken up more marriages and families than almost any other force I can think of — this is the shit they endorse and promote.

I read your stuff frequently and I keep reading about spouses that have been so hurt (and divorced) by their AA or Al anon spouse. I stand with the people that would like to sue them. I wish I could do more to warn others, especially the non attending spouse, that their marriage is probably doomed. Here's a quote from my ex-husband's notes:

"I'm grateful for the freedom I have found to invest in prime relationships since limiting my exposure to my family and friends."
I find this type of encouragement (from Anon) disgusting and anti-family.

I need to know; is there anyone out there that has factual data on the divorce rates in NA, AA, and Al anon? How would one go about finding this info? I don't see these organizations risking an honest survey to find out how many of their flock have gotten divorced since becoming a member, do you? So, is there any info out there? I would be very anxious to know the reality and share it with my local newspaper and other public domains.

I love to read your calm and rational answers to foul and insane people writing about the wonders of AA. You're good. If you ever need help with anything, email me. I believe in you and thank you so much for assuring me I'm not the only one who's been horribly hurt by these organizations. My heart goes out to all the "others" that have been cut out of their spouses lives. It really hurts.

Thanks again. You help to take away some of the confusion because most of us "other's" don't have a clue what's going on until it's too late.

Nancy M.

Hello again, Nancy,

It's good to hear from you again. I hope you are doing well, in spite of A.A. and Al-Anon.

This is really bad:

"I'm grateful for the freedom I have found to invest in prime relationships since limiting my exposure to my family and friends."

It's rare that I hear such a perfect example of cult-think. So, you, his wife, were not a "prime relationship" in his life, but now A.A. and Al-Anon members are? Wow. What more is there to say?

That is also a good example of these common cult characteristics:

I have a lot of anecdotal stories about A.A. divorces (here), but I do not have any divorce statistics of my own, but I know of someone who does. Psychology Today magazine printed an article that declared that

About 25 percent of marriages break up within a year of one partner's joining AA, says Barbara McCrady, Ph.D., clinical director of the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies.

See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters221.html#marriage

Perhaps you could write to Dr. McCrady, care of the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, and get more information from her.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**     indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**     world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
**     efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
**     mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
**     of proper separation between church and state."
**     == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**     The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

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Last updated 15 February 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters311.html